One Day at a time - Riding the Americas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RangeRoad, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    the roses are real. I think they start out as white roses and then they use dyed water and some kind of system so that the petals soak up the colours. How they do it is beyond me but it sure looked cool.
    #81
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  2. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Days 75 to 78 - The Sacha experience

    We worked our way east towards the amazon basin, stopping overnight in the beautiful town of Banos. As it's name suggests there are many natural baths fed by the hot springs from the nearby volcano. The highlight of the area came the next morning shortly after leaving town. We stopped at the Paillon del Diablo, a large waterfall that is reached by a short walk from the highway. Not just another waterfall the Paillon jets a massive volume of water through a small opening in the rock and plummets down to the emerald green river below.

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    We made our way out of the mountains to the east and entered the Amazon basin. We were destined for Coca, an oil boom town that has exploded in size as workers flock to make a buck in the oil patch. Sound familiar? Coca is also the base for many tourists to grab a boat and visit the luxury Amazon lodges that line the rio Napo. After an uneventful night in Coca we were eager to head down river to Sacha lodge where we would be staying the next few days and soaking in the wonders of the jungle. Two hours later we were sitting in a canoe gliding through the dense jungle as our guide paddled along the black waters.

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    Sacha lodge is built around a small lake and contains trails for hiking as well as small tributaries where the guides escort guests on canoes. It makes for excellent tours and allowed us to see a variety of flora and fauna. The tours aside, Sacha boasts 5 star guest service and some of the best food I have ever eaten. The only meal that didn't offer 3 selections of desert was breakfast but I wasn't complaining.

    Our next few days consisted of morning tours, afternoon tours and short night excursions. We saw bugs, tarantulas, monkeys, snakes, toucans, parrots and countless other creatures.
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    #82
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  3. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

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    Finally found your RR Derrick...unfortunately internet is too slow on the Galapagos to load any pics :(


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    #83
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  4. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Nice to have you along my friend. I know your pain in the Galapagos. For anyone who following along who wants to read a great ride report check out Charlie's page. He is way more diligent than I am and takes better pictures.

    #84
  5. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 79 & 80 - Journey to the middle of the world

    After the Amazon we spent a night in a small town in the cloud forest. I can't remember the name but it turned out to be a kayaking meca for people who like river kayaking. I could see why, the scenery is spectacular and there are dozens of small rivers to chose from.

    A trip to Ecuador wouldn't be complete without walking on the actual equator. We had a day to kill before our flight to the Galapagos and this seemed like a decent way to spend an afternoon. The monument is surrounded by a micro Disneyland style park with artisan shops selling every kind of trinket imaginable. Despite being a fake village it was fun to "explore", take some pictures and laugh at the charade. We ate some very good chocolate and drank some very bad craft beer and of course I had ice cream. I brought along my GPS to check the coordinates.... close but not quite. We walked a few blocks out of the village to find the real equator... a dirty sidewalk surrounded by abandoned buildings with trucks and buses screaming past.

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    #85
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  6. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Days 81 to 84 - Darwin's Islands

    We arrived on the desert island of Baltra in the Galapagos archipelago shortly before noon. A 5 minute solar powered ferry brought us to Santa Cruz, where we boarded a bus to the other side of the island. Watching out the bus window the scenery changed from desert to almost tropical in the wet highlands and then back to desert as we descended to Puerto Ayora. After settling into a reasonable hotel we walked to the Darwin center where tortoises are kept and bred before being released in the wild to help restore the populations that once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Years of exploitation for food during sailing voyages and later for tortoise products such as oils and other consumables reduced the populations to the point of extinction. There used to be 15 species on the islands, there are now only 11 due entirely to human activity. Thankfully the efforts to protect these amazing creatures have been successful and many species are maintaining their numbers naturally.
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    Our next day was spent on an organized tour snorkeling, sightseeing and swimming on the beach. The tour guide was terrible but the tour route was good and we saw all of the animals on our lists. We swam with sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays and a couple sea lions. We saw the ridiculous male frigate bird, his red chest puffed out beyond the tip of his beak. We watched Nazca boobies fly and nest and got up close to a group of blue footed boobies and marveled at their bright blue feet.

    The next morning we decided to avoid any more snorkeling and boarded the ferry to San Cristobal island. After a very rough 2 hour ride across the ocean we settled onto the island and ate a late breakfast while watching two large sea lion colonies swim, play and fight. The alpha males from each colony would bark and patrol the border of their respective groups. If another male got too close they would chase them away or get in a small fight until one of them backed down. The babies would ignore the whole thing and keep on playing no matter what was going on around them. It was very entertaining. The sea lions don't keep to their name, they patrol the entire town and can be seen on sidewalks, sleeping on park benches and even standing as the greeter at the tourism office. We walked some of the nearby trails but ultimately couldn't get enough of the entertainment provided by the sea lions and returned to watch them until our ferry back to Santa Cruz
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    Our last day on the islands was spent walking with giant tortoises and exploring the highlands of Santa Cruz. The highlands are the complete opposite of the coast. They are wet, lush and green with trees and grasses everywhere. A fog covers them almost every day. We walked through a few lava tunnels created by the volcanoes during the formation of the islands and observed the massive turtles up close. Their incredible size, old age and slow movement gives the sense that they have some kind of wisdom to share with the world. Like an old man who has seen and done many things but sits quiet, waiting to be asked for his insights. Some of these beasts are over 150 years old, the same age as our great country!

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    #86
  7. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 85 - To the beach... and the bar

    This would be the last full day together as we headed for the beach. Ma and Pa were looking for some beach time and I was ready to continue on my journey. We made the 5 hour trip to Canoa in 6 hours, the little Chevy struggling at times with its 1000 cc engine and budget suspension and brakes. As always, things get more wild towards the coast. The orderly ways of the mountain towns gave way to the organized chaos of the lowlands. Soon we passed through Canoa, a town ravagged by a massive earthquake only a year ago. We checked into a beautiful little hotel on the beach only to find out another quake had hit the area that morning. It was smaller and there was no damage but I it made Mom a bit nervous. There was no turning back and so we decided to wash away any bad thoughts with a beer. And another. And another.

    A group of riders from Ecuador's Freedom bike rentals showed up, so we had a beer with them too. And another. And another.

    Day 86 - On my own again

    After a slow morning and a few cups of coffee to get the brain working again I packed up and said my goodbyes. It had been a great couple weeks travelling with mom and dad. I was able to see and do a lot of things that I wouldn't have on my own. Learning to travel with other's was more of a challenge than I expected, but after two weeks we had settled into a bit of a rhythm. Time to let them enjoy their beach holiday and time for me to learn Spanish and get some help with my surfing.

    Back on the road I headed south down the coast for what turned out to be a fairly spectacular 3 hours. Stunning ocean vistas complimented by some twisty mountain sections were broken up by small agricultural towns and surf villages. My destination was Ayampe, a small surf town on the coast. I had booked a week long surf rental and 5 days of Spanish classes with Otra ola cafe. I stopped by the cafe on my way into town to check what time my lessons started only to see an Oilers license plate behind the bar. Turns out the owner is from Devon, Alberta. Small world.

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    #87
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  8. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Days 87 to 94 - Chill Vibes

    I quickly settled into the slow pace of life in Ayampe. After my first surf lesson I spent the better part of the day drinking coffee, making a basic lunch and lounging around. By mid afternoon I had started spanish lessons and by 5 o'clock I was ready to find a place for dinner. I attempted to go for a run on the beach but the extremely high tide from the supermoon prevented any aspirations I had of logging more than a couple kms. Like groundhog day, I spent the next week repeating this same day over and over with some minor variations. There are plenty of worse ways to spend a week.

    On the weekend I had time to run to Puerto Lopez where I planned to change oil. I stopped at Suzuki, the only new bike dealer in town. They had 10w-40 synthetic, but nowhere that I could do the oil change. I went to another store... no luck on the oil. Only 20w-50 for the small air cooled bikes popular in the area. Third shop had some 10w-40, but it didn't meet the JASO and API requirements for Lola. Who knows how long they had it on the shelf, it was for vehicles older than 1993. Lola deserves better. I used some of my new language skills to explain that Suzuki had the right quality of oil but I still needed a place to make the change. They immediately suggested that I go buy the oil and come back to use their shop. How many shops in Canada would let you do that?

    Not only did they let me do the oil change at their shop, when I realized that Suzuki had given me two bottles of the wrong oil they let me use one of their bicycles to ride back and exchange them. They asked for no money, even when I offered. They were just happy to help me out. I gave them each a couple dollars to buy a beer and explained that in Canada we buy our friends beer for doing us a favor.

    I think the highlight of spending a week in one place was that I had a chance to meet a lot of people, both locals and others in the hostal. Unlike previous places though, with a week I had a chance to really get to know a few people. A young guy from Quebec and a young at heart guy from Austria were my dining companions most nights. It was a nice change but I was soon ready to get back on the road. Staying in one place for a while was great, but I always have an urge to keep moving.

    Ayampe may be to slow for me, but if you think that surfing and yoga is the life for you look up Otra Ola spanish, surf and yoga cafe. The business is for sale. Ryan and Vanessa have built a really nice little business just off the beach. They teach surf lessons, host yoga every morning, run a small cafe and host spanish lessons in the afternoon. It is the perfect business for anyone looking to live the beach life in a quiet surf town.
    #88
  9. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 95 - The Misty Mountains

    I pulled out of the dusty streets of Ayampe early in the morning, a few drops of rain hit my visor and the cool sea breeze gave me a slight chill. More of a mist or fog than rain, the kind where you can’t tell if it is spray from the ocean or actual rain. The scenery was more of the same, dry hills and brown vegetation on one side with beautiful beaches surrounded by small surf and fishing towns on the other. I made time and soon I was in Guayaquil. After so many weeks avoiding large cities I was reminded why I avoid them when I can. Although the sun was still shrouded in a thick haze, the temperature had climbed in the city to over 30 degrees which made it feel stuffy and hot.

    The golden arches beckoned in the distance so I stopped for a quick coffee and ice cream. As always this also meant a chat with one of the local guys. This time a young and slightly awkward McDonald’s employee who seemed to be trying to chat while also avoiding the gaze of his manager.

    I found the shortest route out of town. Thanks to my new X-Grip mount I now have my phone maps right in front of me (Thanks for the early Christmas gift Mom and Dad!). I pointed the bike towards the mountains and soon found myself at the same elevation as the haze that was hanging over the city. The fog was so thick I had to slow down, almost to a stop at times. To make matters worse, there was a mist that coated the road and my visor, reducing visibility and traction. The road wound its way up the mountain, tight corners with what I assumed were cliffs on the one side. Maybe the fog was a blessing since I couldn’t see my fate should I miss a corner and run off the road.

    The temperatures continued to drop, but as I reached higher elevations the fog began to clear. Soon blue sky and barren mountain peaks were visible. I rounded a corner and it was as if I had entered a whole different world. The fog was completely gone, the sun was out warming my chilled body, trees were sparse and brown grass was plentiful. The odd llama roamed the surrounding plateau, eating whatever he could find. I reached the height of the pass at almost 4200 meters. It was cold. And stunningly beautiful.

    The houses in the valley seemed to be well kept and gave an almost European ski village feel as I made my way back down to Cuenca. I entered the beautiful city and stopped by the Royal Enfield dealership hoping to find chain lubricant. Although they had non, I met a fellow rider who had recently done the trip to Ushuai on his KLR and he passed on some recommendations for the road ahead.

    An eventful day already, it was just getting started. I headed to a hotel where I was planning to meet my friend Charlie from the Stahlratte. We walked around the town a little and then headed to a Bavarian pub where we going to meet Joseph, another rider from the Stahlratte. Upon arrival I was introduced (or actually reintroduced having met them unknowingly in Ayampe) to Michnus and Elesbie who some of you may recognize from their travels around the world and their thread on ADV Rider. Soon another group of riders turned up, two of which I had met while waiting for insurance in Colombia… and the other two were my friends Paul and Lucy who I had met back in Mexico. It was a completely random meeting of travellers, all of who I had met previously along the road! We had a couple excellent brews and enjoyed a wonderful evening.

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    Attached Files:

    #89
  10. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 96 – Cat and Mouse

    Charlie and I had decided to ride together for a while, we both wanted to get to Peru, ultimately Lima. I was hoping to make Cusco for Christmas and spend time in the area to see the sights. We jumped on the highway, electing to take the twisty mountain road south to a smaller boarder crossing rather than the shorter route to the coast. It was a good decision. We chased each other through the winding mountain roads, enjoying a perfect morning of riding. In the first two hours it felt like we had ridden through Ecuador, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and British Colombia. The scenery was diverse but also reminded us of being back home. The road stayed up high, keeping the temperature perfect and the views even better.

    After lunch things got hot, the road less interesting and the mountains a lot smaller. We pushed on and started to ride through small agricultural zones. The climate was dry and the air was filled with smoke. At first, I was worried it was from forest fires, but soon realized it was from controlled fires being used to burn areas that would later become farm land. Not ideal from a climate perspective but I understand the need for the land. We ended the day in small border town. It wasn’t memorable but it was close to the boarder and that was all we were looking for.
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    Day 97 – Desert Sun

    We crossed the boarder first thing in the morning. Being a smaller crossing there were no lines and everything went smooth. Soon we were riding into Peru. The mountains continued to disappear as we headed for the coast. Our first impressions of Peru were not great though. The towns were dumpy, run down and the streets were filled with garbage. We stopped for a rest and a snack at a gas station, it was hot and dusty. The highlight being the bags of oil that they were selling. I have never seen motor oil sold in a bag before!

    What little vegetation that was left soon gave way to nothing but sand and wind. What a bleak place to live. The wind was strong and the sand blowing across the road would sting as it hit any exposed skin. It was interesting for a day, but I just can’t imagine dealing with these conditions everyday. Our bike and clothes were sandblasted as we rolled into Lambayeque for the evening, tired and very dusty.
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    #90
  11. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 98 & 99 – Moche Culture

    Before heading to Trujillo we stopped in at the Tomb of Sipan museum. This was our first introduction to the Moche culture. This civilization ruled the valley near Trujillo for 600 years from 100 to 700 AD. Often overlooked because of the much more well known Inca’s we learned a bit about how they lived. They had built huge pyramids, temples and walled cities as well as large agriculture systems with aqueducts.

    One of the most impressive parts of their culture was that they had developed some primitive metallurgy. They formed copper into jewelry, then plated it with gold. Often they would accent the objects with turquoise stones. The highlight of the museum is the re-creation of the Tomb of Sipan. It is a multi level grave that contained many gold plated objects, pottery, other people and animals. Thankfully we don't follow these traditions anymore, seemed like the king was buried with 3 wives, a child, a dog and a guardian.... pretty unlikely they all died at the same time from natural causes.

    This visit was a good precursor to our next day. We spent a full day the day visiting the ruins of Chan Chan and Huaca de la Luna. The ruins of Chan Chan are what is left of a massive city located near the ocean. The Moche people built their city in sections, each section containing a large outer wall surrounding an area filled with smaller buildings and walls. They really liked brown sand walls from what I could tell. It felt a bit like a giant maze, or better yet like being in a giant Pacman game.
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    After visiting the museum, which was by far the worst museum I have ever been to, Charlie and I headed through town to see Huaca de la Luna. After getting stuck in the middle of a street market and enjoying a massive 2 dollar lunch we finally made the temple. Worried we were in for more brown walls we tentatively hiked the hill up to the temple. Luckily this one was a surprise. Before moving to Chan Chan the Moche people still had some style! Painted walls depicting gods and mythical scenes in vibrant colours were extremely well preserved. The most interesting part is that the temple is built in layers, with each generation having built their own version of the temple on top of the previous one. They always made sure to cover the old without destroying it, a sign of respect for the generations before. Because of the damage to temple we could often see these layers on display.

    We ended our day eating Picarones by the ocean. Picarones are like a doughnut made from a sweet potato batter, deep fried and served with some kind of syrup. They are carnival good at its finest! Plus they are made with sweet potatoes so that makes them healthy.

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    #91
  12. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 100 – Detours

    We were worried about the road ahead. Some friends had warned us about a detour on the 3N, they had turned back but I wanted to risk it and go for the detour. The 3N is known as a spectacular road characterized by its single lane tunnels punched through the light brown stone. Charlie and I cruised up highway 12, the scenery changing from coastal desert to dramatic rocky cliffs. We followed the road upriver until it intersected with the 3N. Time to test fate. Here it dropped to one lane, still paved but often covered in debris that had rolled down from the cliffs above. Traffic was quiet… but the buses don’t slow down. They know they are bigger so when you see them you better make room.
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    The detour signs came, and sure enough the bridge that used to be was no more. A new one was in the process of being constructed but there was no way through. We turned onto the detour and began the climb. To my surprise the route was paved, one lane switchbacks. One mistake would have sent us tumbling down to the river below. I felt bad for Charlie, he doesn’t like heights… and this road had no guard rails and was barely wide enough for one car. We continued to climb for what seemed like hours, which in reality was about 30 kms. Eventually I felt we had gone too far, I checked the map and realized that we had likely missed our turn. We turned around and found the turn. We had been told by a local that the turn off to Huaraz was marked and that a police officer was there guiding the detour traffic. I guess he was off for the day because the only thing there was a faded old road sign pointing up a gravel road.
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    At this junction Charlie and I sat and assessed the situation. The road was steep, and would be about 15kms of dirt road winding back down into the valley. I was ready to go, but it was 3pm we were already worn out from a full day of riding. I could see it in Charlie's face that this was going to be too much for one day. For me it was hard to turn back… I have a lot of gravel road experience and hate going back the way I came. But I know we made the right decision. For Charlie, he has very little dirt experience and a fully loaded GS1200 on steep mountain roads late in the day is a recipe for disaster. Sometimes the devil you know is the best option. So with our tails between our legs we hit the gas and made good time back to the coast. Overall it was a spectacular day of riding even if we didn’t make our goal. Over 8 hours in the saddle and over 12 hours out on the road we rolled into Chimbote shortly after dark, completely worn out. And just to reassure us that had we made the right call, Chimbote turned out to be a vibrant city full of life and energy. This was simply a great day.
    #92
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  13. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    It's great having a photographer along! Charlie has been catching all kinds of great moments.
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    #93
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  14. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    #94
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  15. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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  16. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    MERRY CHRISTMAS from Cusco!

    Thank you to everyone who is following along from home. Hopefully I get caught up on the thread this week.
    #96
  17. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 101 – City Limits

    It was over 400 kms to Lima and after the previous day it seemed like a big task. The scenery continued to amaze as the mountains were close to the coast and separated by huge sand dunes. Each hill we crested revealed a new landscape and despite having wanted to head inland to Huaraz, this turned out to be beautiful in its own way. The road was mostly twin lane highway and we made good time. As we approached Lima I turned off on the Serpentin Pasamayo. I misunderstood the sign that said the route was only for heavy trucks and buses… ooops. Nobody stopped us but we started wondering why there were no other cars on the route. This is known as a dangerous but spectacular by-pass to the pan-am highway and it didn’t disappoint. Cut out of the side of the dunes, the sand stretched down to the water on our right and hundreds of feet above our heads on the left. The wind picked up sand, swirling it up the dunes only to have gravity slide back down the steep faces and onto the road. It is only a short bypass, 25 or 30 kms but worth the trip. We got a bit of a finger wag and a smile at the toll booth on the other end, but nobody really seemed to have a problem with it.
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    As we entered Lima, traffic lived up to its reputation. We spent over an hour to cover 20 kms, most of the time completely jammed between trucks and buses. We were tired from the already long day and getting frustrated. We elected to pull over and find some dinner, hoping that traffic would ease latter in the evening. Round two of non-stop honking, lane splitting and praying that we weren’t going to be run over started after diner. Traffic had eased a little, but one wrong turn and we were stuck in the car lane at a toll booth. With nowhere to go, a traffic officer stood in front of us yelling and lecturing us in Spanish. We didn’t understand but just kept pointing forward. At that point he was just being a jerk. Everyone behind us was honking and waiting. With nowhere to go he finally got out of the way. This was really the first bad experience I have had on my trip with police officers. Most of the time they smile and just want to know where I am from.

    Our adventures were not over yet. We started our search for a hostal well after dark. After 2 hours of finding full hotels or really nasty places we stumbled on a home stay that had room. Well sort of. I set up my tent on the rooftop terrace and Charlie had a small room with a tiny bed. We were too exhausted to look anywhere else.
    #97
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  18. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    Day 102 & 103 –

    Charlie and I headed straight for Starbucks in the morning. It had been a long time since we had found a decent cup of coffee. My addictions aside, we made it to the BMW dealer shortly after they opened. Charlie sent his bike in for an oil change and have a few other minor things. I was looking to get Lola some new shoes and some jewelry as an early Christmas present. They had K60’s in stock for less than what I can get them for online in Canada, so I picked up a set and strapped them to the bike. Now I look like a stereotype adventure rider! As for the jewelry, Lola would have to wait. A new chain was going to cost almost the same as the tires, which seemed a bit steep.

    Spending time in a BMW dealer is a dangerous activity. I kept eyeing up that new 1200GS Rallye edition. Real good-looking bike and seems to have perfect ergonomics for me sitting or standing. Plus I’m a sucker for bikes that come in blue. Anyone looking to buy me a Christmas gift could start with that 1200… I won’t complain.

    With Charlie’s bike shining like new we rolled out and headed to the KTM/Triumph warehouse nearby. The showroom was way on the south end of the city and would have taken over an hour to get to. The guys at the warehouse welcomed us in, they have a combined warehouse and shop, mostly for KTM. The only chain they had for Lola was over $300, so again I opted to wait. I think I can make Santiago. Our visit was anything but a disappointment though. Turns out that Socopur supports some of the Dakar riders and just happened to be working on a few of the bikes. They let us walk around the shop and check them out! This was the highlight of visiting Lima for me.

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    The next morning I woke to a lovely surprise. The dog had decided to make the rooftop his bathroom. The owner was out for the morning which left me with two options. Clean up the shit or suffer with the smells all morning. I chose the former… but was not happy about it. Worse, the dog had urinated near my tent which left me having to also wash the tent. And to think that I paid for the right to stay in this place. Garbage.

    Dog problems aside, it was a pleasant morning that ended with me catching a local bus to downtown and the wealthy Miraflores area. A 1-hour bus ride to cover the 11 kms set the mood for the rest of the day. I walked around, enjoying the neighbourhood but overall it was just a city and didn’t have a lot to offer that I couldn’t get in every other major city. After walking a bit I elected to continue my search for a chain. There were a few bike shops in the area and one had to have it. 4 strikes and 10 kms of walking left me tired and depressed. Nobody seemed to have a 525 chain that was long enough, and nobody knew where to get one either. I had wasted too much time looking, which meant it was now rush hour and my bus ride home would be an hour and a half crammed into the back of a bus being squished by the seat in front of me and the lady beside me. I shouldn’t complain, at least I had a seat. Call it experiencing local culture I guess. Just to really put an exclamation on the day, when I got back after diner the dog had left another gift. At least I had been smart enough to pack my tent up before heading out for the day.
    #98
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  19. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

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    The Prairies
    Day 104 – Random Encounters

    Our day started where the previous one had left off. Both Charlie and I weren’t feeling well and when we pulled the bikes out to pack up Charlie had a flat rear tire. It was a mystery though, we couldn’t find any leaks and after refilling it seemed to be holding air. We packed up and headed for Touratech Peru, our last stop in Lima. Charlie had his eye on a few items and hoped they had them in stock. Unfortunately they didn’t have exactly what he wanted, but he walked away with a new rev-it one piece rain suit. Rev-It should pay me, I have now convinced 4 people to buy their rain gear and I constantly praise their stuff. Rev-It if you are listening, need any brand ambassadors? For anyone who hasn’t used their rain gear it claims to keep you dry and focused. And it does exactly that. Plus it packs up nice an small and means you don’t have to wear a 30 pound Gor-Tex jacket in 30+ degree heat.

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    We did run into Carson and Griffin at Touratech.We seem to meet them randomly all over the place. First in Columbia at customs, then in Cuenca at a pub and now in Peru at Touratech. Unfortunately for them the story wasn’t good. Carson was carrying the cylinder from his 1150 GS. He showed us a huge crack in the cylinder wall that had happened when he crashed in Ecuador. The bike had been leaking oil since the repairs in Cuenca and they were hoping to find a shop that could weld up the crack. Luckily the sleeve on the inside was fine so a decent welder should be able to help them out.

    We headed out from Touratech and got stuck in traffic. Typical Lima. But soon we found ourselves back on the open road to Huacachina, a small oasis in the desert just outside the city of Ica. Massive sand dunes on all sides slope down to the small pool and hotels that surround it. The sound of dune buggies racing up into the desert can be heard all day. This was what I needed, back out of the city and in a unique place. Just what the doctor ordered. We walked around the dunes and watched the sun set over the desert. I just kept thinking about how crazy it must be to ride those Dakar bikes through these sandy waves. We did find out later that the oasis is no longer natural, the water level is maintained with pumps otherwise it would have dried out many years ago.


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  20. RangeRoad

    RangeRoad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    Oddometer:
    194
    Location:
    The Prairies
    Day 105 – Nazca Lines

    I am glad that Charlie convinced me to go on the buggy ride through the dunes. I likely wouldn’t have gone had I been on my own. Although they don’t look to be going that fast, inside the buggy was a pretty intense experience. This was our little taste of Dakar… at a much more sane pace. We banked the vehicle on the dunes, sand flying into the cabin of the buggy. Cresting the top of a dune and rolling down the other side was like being on a roller coaster. The anticipation builds as you climb the front side, then the nose goes up in the air and all you can see is the sky. The front wheels roll over the top and suddenly you are looking at the ground below and picking up speed, butterflies flapping around in your stomach. It was a fun ride! It also gave us a chance to see the spectacular scenery of dunes stretching out as far as the eye can see. I have never seen anything quite like it.
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    We packed up and started the short ride to Nazca. I had been hoping to make it further but after the buggy ride and then a few stops along the way to check out the Nazca lines it was getting too late to make a push into the mountains.

    The Nazca lines were special to me. As I was riding towards them I had flashbacks to a school project I had done way back in grade school. I had known about this wonder of the world since I was a kid, but back then I never would have thought that someday I would be standing next to them. Funny how details of my childhood school project came flooding back. Although options to see them from the road are limited, we climbed a small tower viewpoint where we could see the tree and the hands. Then moved along to a small hill where you have an excellent view of the straight lines that run all across the desert. Paying for an airplane to get the full experience wasn’t in the budget, but even seeing a few of the lines in person was a special experience. There remains a lot of mystery as to why they were ever created in the first place but the dry desert conditions has preserved them for over 1500 years. Maybe over the next 1500 years we will figure out the real reason they exist.
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